The Union flag flew above Belfast City Hall every day of the year until 3rd December 2012 when politicians democratically voted to fly it on 18 designated days. The Confederation of British Industry said the ensuing riots have cost local businesses £10-£15 million in lost revenue.

Union flagThe Union flag, representing Northern Ireland.

Irish flagThe Irish tricolour, representing the Republic of Ireland.

Some political commentators have suggested that one way to diffuse the situation might be the creation of a new flag for Northern Ireland. The country hasn’t had its own flag since the Ulster banner was used by the old Northern Ireland Government between 1953 and 1972.

Ulster bannerThe Ulster banner.

There’s the older St. Patrick’s Saltire, said to pre-date the tricolour by 150 years. It’s been flown at the Edinburgh Tattoo to designate Northern Ireland, seen as less contentious than the Ulster banner.

St Patrick's SaltireSt. Patrick’s Saltire.

So here’s my idea.

Northern Ireland flagNorthern Ireland flag.

Hardly innovative, but it doesn’t need to be.

Northern Ireland’s footballers play in green and white. So does Ireland’s rugby team (with players from both sides of the border). No need to use blue and red.

Turns out there’s an NI Flag Facebook Group that’s been going for a while.

As you were.


January 18, 2013


I like it very much, but wonder will the genpop of loyalists approve. Elements taken from the British flag and culture are there, but of course the colour is stronger than the forms. Considering the Republic’s flag concept was peace between the greenmen and orangemen, I think a similar concept would apply here. Kudos for sparking the idea, David.

Maybe I’m oversimplifying the problem, but why not just fly all the flags in a row like they do at the UN? Then all parties are represented equally.

The Scots may have something to say about that… but given that we nicked kilts and bagpipes from the Irish and made them our own, plus we’re all Celtic anyway, perhaps we can still get along! Plus I’m half Scots half Irish, so who am I to complain?!

There are places in Glasgow where all traces of the colour green are eradicated (traffic lights included) by the protestant residents living there (simply because of its catholic connotation). The same thing probably goes on in N Ireland. It’s a pretty sensitive design task. I reckon I’d ask the advice of the guys throwing molotovs at police, and hopefully avoid annoying them with an inferior new flag.

That flag is actually already flown by Celtic FC supporters, and I don’t think it works for NI. It would probably be a better design for the Republic (especially given that “orange” culture almost exclusively exists within NI and is a bit irredentist to include orange within their flag and as bit sectarian IMo to talk of “green and orange” (or indeed what may actually have been gold depending upon how it is spun)).

Also quite wrong to say that the “country hasn’t had it’s own flag since 1972” — that is misinformation by Republican propagandists on Wikipedia. Since when was a regional flag only purely valid due a regional assembly? (and let’s face it — our current undemocratic Assembly can’t agree on more important issues, so why do you think they’ll agree on anything as trivial as this I don’t know). By that logic then England also doesn’t have a flag eith, and neigher did Scotland in the 70s, 80s etc. Take one look at any NI football match, Commonwealth games, or any other event when NI competes internationally as a team and it is rather obvious that we have a flag. I’m not against a fresh design, but the present reality shouldn’t be distorted in this manner.

I believe any new design is a meaningless non-runner unless it is based on some sort of hybrid between the St. Patrick’s Cross with red had in centre. You can’t just eradicate hundreds of years of heritage/heraldry like that.

Sorry guys too much wishy washy libralism.
No surrender to the people who would steal our country by stealth.
I was born under a Union Flag.

Already put forward an idea to the Belfast Telegraph of a blue and green chequered flag similar to the Croatian flag of red and white.
To that, add the red hand and six star emblem. This is optional. May be onto a winner?!

How about a (low resolution) map of Lough Neagh in navy blue on a green background, maybe with an overall square aspect ratio (as the Swiss flag also has).

I think that this would be as neutral as possible. The theme is geographical rather than political. The colours work also for this purpose — while also obviously representing the water and the land — especially if the size of the lake can be roughly half the overall area so that neither colour dominates.

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